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Prophetic Failures of Ellen G. White

V. Streifling, Ph.D.


It's important for us to review some of Ellen G.White's 'failed prophecies' which witness against her claimed pro-phetic gift, for Deut 18:20-22 shows if her prophecies fail to come to pass, she is a 'false prophet' as Christ warned against in Matt 24, as a sign of the end of the age. Yet before seeing some of her predictions, we must first note the claims she is a prophet:

"Seventh-Day Adventists hold that Ellen G. White performed the work of a true prophet during the 70 years of her public ministry…As Samuel…as Jeremiah…as John the Baptist, so we believe that Mrs. White was a prophet to the church today." (Review & Herald, 10, 4, 1928).

"This in-breathing by the Holy Spirit does impart to the prophetic utterances the quality of being authentic, authoritative, and infallible…It safeguards the prophet's message from human influences that would distort or pervert it." (Caottrell & Specht, Relation between D.A by EGW and Life of Christ by Hanna p.32); "Ellen White had that gift (of the Holy Spirit) and she was canonical in so far as doctrinal interpretation and authority is concerned." (Arthur Delafield, Gen. Conf., 1989)

While these statements show the SDA church's view of Ellen, when her failed prophecies are brought forward they'll often try to excuse her saying, 'she never claimed to be a prophet'. But, didn't she?

"My work includes much more than this name (prophet) signifies". (Selected Messages vol. I, p.36)

After saying she's even more than a prophet, she contradicts herself , saying why she's never claimed to be one!:

"I know that many have called me a prophet, but I have made no claim to this title…Why have I not claimed to be a prophet?--Because… my work includes much more than the word 'prophet' signifies". (Selected Messages I, 31+32, 1906)

SDAs claim her 70 years of prophetic ministry began in 1845, for she died in 1915. Yet in her 'Biographical Information Blank' of Mar 10, 1909, asking "When …did you begin laboring for the cause?" she wrote "In Maine, 1842 …1844-45 began public labor, relating visions, etc."

Again Selected Messages II p.4 says her "first and second messages were given in 1843 + 1844", and in Early Writings she tells "In 1842 I constantly attended the Second Advent meetings in Portland Maine…Wave after wave of glory rolled over me, till my body grew stiff …I remained in this state of body and mind a long time." (p11+12) confirming the 1842 date in SM II.

Ellen tries to evade being a false prophet (Deut 18:21+22) by saying all God's prophecies are 'conditional', and if she's a false prophet so must Jesus and the Apostles as well. Yet she and the SDA don't allow this for other prophets whose dates failed-except and only for her own! In their book God's Channel of Truth-Is it the Watchtower? SDAs hold the Watchtower Society are false prophets for setting dates just as Ellen did. (ch'Bricks in the Boat').

Ellen says "Those who so presumptuously predict definite time, in so doing gratify the adversary of souls; for they are advancing infidelity rather than Christianity. They produce Scriptures and by false interpretation show a chain of argument which apparently proves their position. But their failures show they are false prophets." (Test IV, p.307);

Their saying failed prophecies prove the prophet is false, must also say Ellen White the Adventist's prophet is also a false prophets for their own failed prophecies or set dates for Jesus return.

Reviewing Ellen White's 'Failed Prophecies'

We start this review in Ellen's book The Great Controversy, on p.447:

"When the time passed at which the Lord's coming was first expected-in the spring of 1844…"

Ellen says they as early Adventists first expected Jesus' return 'in the spring of 1844'. On p 420 she repeats 'The testimony of the prophecies which seemed to point to the coming of Christ in the spring of 1844, took deep hold of the minds of the people" But these early Adventists did not 'first' expect Christ to return in 1844, but rather in the 7th month of 1843! For years Millar preached Christ's return in 1843, using a 'Prophetic Time chart' with four (4) prophetic periods ending in 1843.

These four time periods pointing to 1843 were as follows:

7 Gentile 'times' (2520 years) beginning from 677 B.C. and ending in 1843. (Lev. 26:18,21,24+28)

2300 'evening-mornings' (turned to 2300 years) beginning 457 B.C. ending 1843 (Dan 8:13+14)

45 'days' (turned to 45 years) from 1798 A.D. ending 1843 (days between Dan 12:11 and 12:12)

1335 'days' (turned years) beginning 508 A.D. ending 1843 (days of Dan 12:12).

Ellen White endorsed this chart as being ordained by God, through her 'visions', as we find scattered through Early Writings. In one of Millar's meetings in 1842 she fell into a trance, and coming out of it confirmed the 1843 chart:

"In 1842 I constantly attended the second advent meetings in Portland, Maine, and fully believed that the Lord was coming. Inexpressible love for Jesus filled my soul. Wave after wave of glory rolled over me, until my body grew stiff…I remained in this state of body and mind a long time." (p.11+12).

But her statement of what her 'vision' was about is found on p.74:

"(I Saw)…the 1843 chart was directed by the hand of the Lord, and that it should not be altered, that the figures were as He wanted them…" But, Jesus' predicted return in 1843 failed! So in Great Controversy p.427 she says "God designed to prove His people. His hand covered a mistake in the reckoning of the prophetic periods". If it was first directed by God hand, why and how is it possible to have a mistake in the reckoning?

We know she saw the figures were as He wanted, before the 1843 failure, for on p. 236 she says

"Those faithful disappointed ones who could not understand why their Lord did not come, were not left in darkness…The hand of the Lord was removed from the figures, and the mistake was explained. They saw that…the same evidence which they had presented to show that the prophetic periods closed in 1843, proved they would terminate in 1844…again they had a point in time." With all these statements in view, we now see that:

1. His predicted return in 1843, confirmed by her vision, didn't occur in 1843, so it was a false prophecy!

2. 1843 failed. So she saw God tested their faith as His hand covered some figures, causing a mistake

3. The mistake was explained, as 'no "0" year from BC to AD, and now the figures all pointed to 1844 instead.

4. From this 'prophetic guidance' they expected His return 'in the spring of 1844', but it failed! So her next 'vision' confirming 'spring' was wrong, it was a false prophecy.

5. Next, they expected His return Oct. 22, 1844. Her visions confirmed these prophetic periods pointing to this date. Both the date was wrong and the event was wrong for Jesus did not come, and the Universal Jewish Encyclopedia showed the Day of Atonement (10th day of 7th month) was on Sept 23, 1844,--not Oct 22. Thus her recording God's corrected reckoning for Oct 22, 1844 was indeed another false prophecy!

But even her saying "the same evidence which they had presented to show that the prophetic periods closed in 1843, proved that they would terminate in 1844" ARE false prophecy for another reason: the mistake they found of 'No Zero year' going from BC. to AD., changed the 2300 'years' from 1843, to 1844. Also the 2520 yrs of the '7 Gentile times' from 677 BC that would end in 1844 A.D..

But there were 4 prophetic periods on that chart-not just two! The other 2 time periods didn't go from BC. to years AD.. So the period of 45 years in #3, from 1798 to 1843 did not change to become 1844. And, neither were the 1335 years in #4, from 508 AD to 1843 changed to 1844. So these 2 time periods directly contradicted the other 2 periods on the same chart! These prophetic periods that said 1843 did not now say 1844 at all. Here was more false prophecy!

The '7 Gentile times' is dropped from SDA teaching, for it's of God's restoration for Israel, in the end of the Church Age. As Ellen predicted Jesus would come so soon, there wasn't enough time. So of Israel's restoration she prophes-ied:

"I was pointed to some who are in the great error of believing that it is their duty to go to Old Jerusalem, and think they have a work to do there before the Lord comes…I also saw that Old Jerusalem never would be built up". (Early Writings, p. 75). Now in 2000 AD, with over a million in Jerusalem, and God having restored a homeland to Israel, and them being an independent state in 1948, we can see beyond cavil, this was another false prophecy!

Ellen had another vision on Dec 10, 1844. She records:

"As God has shown me in holy vision the travels of the Advent people to the Holy city …I have tried to bring back a good report, and a few grapes from the Heavenly Canaan, for which many would stone me" (Word to the Little Flock)

Why stone her? God's law requires prophets be tested (Deut 18:21+22) and false prophets were to be stoned to death! Here she tells she saw the Advent people ascending the narrow path to the city, "Until we heard the voice of God, like many waters, which gave us the day and hour of Christ's coming".

Apart from this vision, there can be no accounting for her writing in WTLF p.22 "It is well known that many were expecting the Lord to come at the 7th month 1845. That Christ would then come, we firmly believed". No prophetic periods pointed to 1845-only her vision Dec 10, 1844, where she 'heard the voice of God'. Since Jesus did not return that year either, as she had seen in 'holy vision', it was false prophecy too!

She later predicted Jesus return for 1850:

"In a view given June 27, 1850, my accompanying angel said 'Time is al-most finished'…what we have been years in learning, they (new believers) will have to learn in a few short months …then I saw that the seven last plagues were soon to be poured out." "I saw that the time for Jesus to be in the most holy place was nearly finished and that time can last but a very little longer…The sealing time is very short, and will soon be over." (Early Writings, p 64 & 58).

There were 5 Ú years from Dec 1844; the 'few short months' are now 150 years! Thus this 1850 prophecy is another false prophecy!

Ellen proves this 'sealing' hadn't begun yet, for in 1884 she wrote in SP IV, p. 315 "The judgment is now passing in the Sanctuary above... Soon-none know how soon-it will pass to the cases of the living". Since by 1884 it had not passed to the living, then they weren't already judged by 1850, nor had Christ made His 'special final atonement' required before the sealing of the 144,000 begins-so another false prophecy!

Ellen predicted Jesus' return in 1843, the spring of 1844, Oct 22, 1844, the 7th month of 1845, and by Dec 1850. The SDA's own T.V. speaker, Mark Finley said "Some of these prophets are obvious phonies because the things they predict don't come to pass. And you know what happens when the things they predict don't come to pass? They simply set new dates…" And these are by no means her only false prophecies, there are many more.

In his book White Washed, a former SDA Pastor Sydney Cleveland conclusively deals with the SDA 'conditional prophecies' excuse, thoroughly exposing ten of Ellen's false prophecies, concluding "…all have failed to meet the requirements of her own 'inspired' prophetic chronology!" (p.88, 2000 ed.,

Part 2

Prophetic Failures

of Ellen G. White V. Streifling, Ph.D.


In the article above 'Prophetic Failures' we saw several false prophecies made by SDA's prophet Ellen White:

She confirmed the Prophetic date of Jesus' return for 1843

She confirmed Jesus' return for the Spring of 1844

She confirmed His return for Oct 22, 1844

She prophesied His return for the 7th month of 1845 and,

She also predicted His return by Dec, 1850.

Still we should now review some more of her 'failed prophecies' which witness against her claimed prophetic gift, for Deut 18:20-22 shows if her prophecies fail to come to pass, she is a 'false prophet', and we saw both her own statements that those who predict times for Jesus' return are being used of Satan, as also their T.V. Evangelist Mark Finley stating those whose predictions failed, are 'obvious phonies'.

We noted the SDA's claim that Ellen is a prophet:

"Seventh-Day Adventists hold that Ellen G. White performed the work of a true prophet during the 70 years of her public ministry…As Samuel…as Jeremiah…as John the Baptist, so we believe that Mrs. White was a prophet to the church today." (Review & Herald, 10, 4, 1928).

We also saw her own claim to be 'more than a prophet': "I know that many have called me a prophet, but I have made no claim to this title…Why have I not claimed to be a prophet?--Because… my work includes much more than the word 'prophet' signifies". (Selected Messages I, 31+32, 1906)

In His book White-Washed, the former SDA Pastor Sydney Cleveland thoroughly deals with some of Ellen's other false prophecies. With his permission, we list them below, citing Ellen's statements which pertain to them:

1. The Lisbon earthquake (1755), and the Dark Day (May 19, 1780) definitely fulfilled two signs of Christ's second coming.

"These signs were witnessed before the opening of the nineteenth century. In fulfillment of this prophecy there occurred, in the year 1755, the most terrible earthquake that has ever been recorded… the earthquake at Lisbon…" (GC p.304-305, 1888) The Calgary Sun, Dec 9, 1988, p.1, shows 12 worse quakes than this!

2. Turkey would fall on August 11, 1840.

"This power was to be overthrown…It will end on the 11th of August, 1840…At the very time specified Turkey…ex-actly fulfilled the prediction" (GC p. 334, 335, 1888) Turkey still stands today.

3. In 1850 the 'sealing' time was almost over and the seven last plagues would soon be poured out. (We dealt with this on the tract 'Prophetic Failures of Ellen G. White')

4. God told Ellen White that individuals attending the Conference at Battle Creek on May 27, 1856 would still be alive at Christ's second coming.

"I was shown the company present at the conference. Said the angel "Some food for worms, some subjects of the seven last plagues, some will be alive and remain upon the earth to be translated at the coming of Jesus". (Test I, p.131 +132). Willie White, the youngest there would be 151 years old today.

5. During the Civil War, England will attack the Unites States and humble America to the dust.

"I was shown…England fully understands…that the war is not to do away slavery…This nation (USA) will yet be humbled into the dust…When England does declare war, all nations will have an interest of their own to serve, and there will be general war, general confusion". (ibid, 258+259, Jan 4, 1862)

6. Old Jerusalem will never be built up.

"I was pointed to some … believing that it is their duty to go to Old Jerusalem, and think they have a work to do there before the Lord comes…I also saw that Old Jerusalem never would be built up." (Early Writings p. 75)

7. Angels would destroy San Francisco.

"While at Loma Linda, Cal, April 16, 1906…during the vision of the night…I could see houses shaken like a reed in the wind. Buildings great and small, were falling to the ground. Pleasure resorts, theaters hotels, and the homes of the wealthy were shaken and shattered…The destroying angels of God were at work. One touch, and buildings so thor-oughly constructed… quickly became heaps of rubbish…The forbearance of God was exhausted…judgment day had come." (Test IX, p.93, 1909). Here she didn't predict earthquake or fire, but Angels at work. San Francisco wasn't named, only a city - it could be any city in the world! She said it was 'Judgment Day' which didn't come in 1906.

8. Ellen White will be one of the 144,000. ( translated alive when Jesus returns )

"These (144,000) having been translated from the earth, from among the living, are counted as 'the first fruits unto God'. (GC 649). "As we were about to enter the holy temple, Jesus raised His lovely voice and said, 'Only the 144,000 enter this place'…after we beheld the glory of the temple, we went out." (EW p.19, 1851)

9. None could be saved after the 2,300 years ended October 22, 1844. (This is called the 'shut door' doctrine.) "For a time after the disappointment in 1844, I did hold in common with the advent body that the door of mercy was then forever closed to the world…" (SM I, p.63, 1883)

"While in Exeter, Maine, in a meeting with Israel Dammon, James, and many others, many of them did not believe in a shut door… It was then I had a view of Jesus rising from his mediatorial throne and going to the holiest as Bridegroom to receive his kingdom…Most of them received the vision and were settled upon the shut door" (letter to Joseph Bates, July 13, 1847; Adventist Currents, Apr 1988, p.29).

10 …Oct 21, 1858, God mentioned to Ellen White that the time of trouble was just before them.

"The time of trouble is just before us; and then the stern necessity will require the people of God to deny self, and to eat merely enough to sustain life." (Test I, p.206, 1858) This time still hasn't arrived!

Having listed and thoroughly proved these were all failed prophecies, Rev. Cleveland says

"In the overall picture, the facts are that Ellen White's entire end-time scenario has remained unfulfilled for more than one hundred years! None of it has come to pass: not the investigative Judgment; not the little time of trouble; not the latter rain; not the loud cry; not the national Sunday law; not Satan's impersonation of Christ; not the time of Jacob's trouble; not the universal death decree; not the great time of trouble; not the Second Coming of Christ-all have failed to meet the requirements of her own "inspired" prophetic chronology!" (p.87 + 88)

While far more than enough failed prophecies have been already shown, (for only one would make her a false prophet), yet we would do well to still look at one further example, recorded in Adventist Currents, of April, 1988. This records the events of Feb 15, 1845 at the meeting conducted by Israel Dammon, in Atkinson, Maine. By this time Ellen and others absolutely believed in the shut door, as well as requiring baptism into this 'message'. SDAs now accept the record from the Newspaper Piscataquis Farmer as giving an accurate account of the Dammon trial where friendly witnesses gave their God-fearing testimony of what events happened in that meeting:

Wm Crosby told "There was a woman on the floor who lay on her back with a pillow under her head; she would occasionally arouse up and tell a vision which she said was revealed to her.."

James Ayer, Jr identified this visionary "Saw the woman with a pillow under her head - her name is Miss Ellen Harmon, of Portland…She told brother Doore she was distressed on his account-was afraid he would loose his soul, and advised him to be baptized…"

Isley Osborn affirmed "She told them their cases had been made know to her by the Lord, and if they were not baptized that evening, they would go to hell."

Joel Doore stated "I believe in Miss Harmon's visions…Sister Harmon said to my wife and the girls, if they did not do as she said, they would go to hell…" (ie. crawling on the floor)

Loton Lambert testified "The woman that lay on the floor relating visions, was called by Elder Dam-mon and others, Imitation of Christ…the one that they called Imitation of Christ told Mrs. Woodbury and others, that they must forsake all their friends or go to hell. Imitation of Christ, as they called her, would lay on the floor a while, then rise up and call upon someone and say she had a vision to relate to them…there was one girl that they said must be baptized that night or she must go to hell; she wept bitterly and wanted to see her mother first; they told her she must leave her mother or go to hell… Imitation of Christ told her vision to a cousin of mine, that she must be baptized that night or go to hell…"

There are several considerations which show Ellen White gave several false prophecies here:

1. It added works (being baptized, forsaking parents, crawling on the floor) to faith for salvation.

2. It presupposed God was already investigating the cases of the living, which Ellen claimed to reveal, but 39 years later Ellen saw that God had not yet moved to the cases of the living. Thus God could not have shown her the cases of those living in 1845! Thus, her claim that God showed her they must be baptized that night or go to hell, was clearly false prophecy!

3. Their rebaptisms were into the Shut Door message they later repudiated. God could not require a rebaptism into a false message, upon pain of eternal damnation!

Again this was a false prophecy.

No wonder she wrote "In our frequent change of location in the earlier history of the publishing work, and I have crossed the plains no less than 17 times-I lost all trace of the first published works...And here I pause to state that any of our people having in their possession a copy of any or all of my first views, as published prior to 1851 will do me a great favor if they will send them to me without delay" (SM I, p.298) She desperately needed to suppress all her first 'shut door' visions! In Life of EGW-her False Claims Refuted, D. Canright has an entire chapter on her suppressed writings, at the expense of their ministers! Serving SDA with her for 25 years, he speaks from first-hand experience.

Certainly Ellen's long legacy of False Prophecies proves she's a false prophet, according to Deuteronomy18:20-22.

Seeing false prophets in the world today, setting dates for Jesus' return, we must not repudiate the message of His return-but only the false prophets with their false dates which they use to spur their followers to excessive time and money to get the message out before it's too late! Yet the message that Jesus is coming again is God's Truth-it's objective truth-His promise is sure.







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